Liam Livingstone is not in Cape Town to watch football, but to add impetus to the Blitz's batting unit. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

CAPE TOWN – “I just landed and he got sacked,” said a despairing Liam Livingstone.

The Cape Town Blitz’s latest recruit for this season’s MSL 2.0 is a staunch Blackburn Rovers supporter. And in turn, of course, a big fan of Benni McCarthy, the now former Cape Town City football manager, who scored 52 goals during his time at Ewood Park.

“I thought I could hopefully catch a couple of games while I’m here. But we’ll see now.”

Livingstone, 26, is not in Cape Town to watch football, but to add impetus to the Blitz's batting unit. The Lancastrian replaces fellow Englishman David Malan, and Blitz coach Ashwell Prince will certainly be expecting a lot from his former teammate.

Prince, who is a legendary figure at Lancashire County Cricket Club, played a big part in Livingstone’s development while the youngster was coming through the ranks at Old Trafford. They even won the highly-competitive Natwest T20 Blast together in 2015.

“We have some great memories of that night,” Livingstone said. “Obviously seeing Ashwell again brings back those memories. Hopefully we can do the same again this year.

“I think Ashwell’s last year at Lancashire was my first year, so coming through at Lancashire, Ashwell was someone I would have looked up to. A lot of our young lads tried to model ourselves on Ashwell. It is great to be back with him and hopefully he can pass on some knowledge again.”

Livingstone has certainly developed into a high-quality cricketer since those early days. He has not only gone on to captain Lancashire in the English County Championship, but is also much sought-after on the T20 global circuit.

Prior to joining the Blitz, Livingstone paraded his hard-hitting skills for the Karachi Kings in the Pakistan Super League and also enjoyed Indian Premier League game time with the Rajasthan Royals, where he rubbed shoulders with World Cup winners Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes and Australia’s run-machine Steve Smith.

He is hoping for a similar learning experience here with the Blitz, where Proteas maestro Quinton de Kock will lead the way, and Hashim Amla’s vast knowledge is also available as the Blitz’s batting consultant, in order to break into that powerful England white-ball unit.

“I think if you look at cricket now in England it is almost seen as less boring than it was at the start of the year. I think it shows the young boys trying to get into that team how hard it is. It encourages us to work as hard as we can.

“That’s why these experiences around the world are great for us. It helps us playing in different conditions, so hopefully when I leave here in six weeks' time I can be a better player,” he said.

Livingstone is expected to make his Blitz debut against the defending champions Jozi Stars on Friday evening at the Wanderers.



Cape Times

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